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Murray Chotiner was born in Pittsburgh in 1909. He left school at fifteen but four years later he had obtained a law degree from Southwestern Law College.

A member of the Republican Party, Chotiner worked for Herbert Hoover in 1932 and Earl Warren, when he campaigned to be governor of California. Chotiner also managed the campaign of Richard Nixon in 1950 when he defeated Helen Douglas. Chotiner developed a reputation for running dirty tricks campaigns. Another of Nixon's advisors, Leonard Garment, said that Chotiner was a "hardheaded exponent of the campaign philosophy that politics is war" and that "politics is shabby most of the time, filled with lies and deceptions".

As a lawyer, Chotiner obtained a reputation for working for organized crime bosses. In 1956 Robert Kennedy and Carmine Bellino began an investigation of Chotiner. They discovered evidence that a New Jersey uniform company that had been convicted of stealing from the federal government had paid out $5,000 to Chotiner. An informant told Bellino that the money was meant for Richard Nixon to help prevent a possible prosecution by the Department of Justice. Chotiner received support from Joe McCarthy and the case against him was eventually dropped.

Chotiner's reputation had been badly damaged by this investigation and for a while he ceased working for Nixon. However, he returned in 1968 to help Nixon defeat Hubert Humphrey. After the election Chotiner was appointed general counsel of the Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations. The following year he was named special counsel to the president.

Soon after he took office Nixon established Operation Sandwedge. Organized by H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, the two main field officers were Jack Caulfield and Anthony Ulasewicz. Operation Sandwedge involved a secret investigation of Edward Kennedy. Caulfield later admitted that Ulasewicz’s reports on Kennedy went to three people: Nixon, Chotiner and Bebe Rebozo.

According to Dan T. Carter (The Politics of Rage) Chotiner was involved in the attempt to blackmail George Wallace about corruption in Alabama. This played an important role in persuading Wallace to announce that he would not be a third-party candidate in the 1972 presidential election.

Chotiner had returned to private practice as a lawyer in Washington by the time the Watergate break-in took place. However, he still maintained a White House telephone. His law offices were one floor above those of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CREEP).

Anthony Summers (The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon) has pointed out that "at least one woman working on White House dirty tricks operations was carried on the payroll of his firm". Dwight L. Chapin was convinced that Chotiner was secretly involved in Watergate: "There is a person who goes all the way back through this thing, and that is Murray Chotiner. He was in the White House... he leaves; the break-in happens. Murray was the operator for Nixon on God only knows what."

In an article published in the Los Angeles Times (31st March, 1973) it was claimed that Chotiner had received copies of the tape recordings that had been made by Alfred Baldwin as a result of the bugging Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate building.

On 23rd January, 1974, Murray Chotiner was involved in a car accident outside the Washington home of Edward Kennedy. Although he only suffered a broken leg he died a week later.

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Namebase entry for Murray Chotiner:

http://www.namebase.org/main3/Murray-M-Chotiner.html

Anderson,J. Peace, War, and Politics. 1999 (82, 151, 177, 232)

Blumenthal,S. Yazijian,H. Government by Gunplay. 1976 (135)

Davis,J. Mafia Kingfish. 1989 (302, 398-9)

Executive Intelligence Review 1998-11-06 (65, 67)

Goulden,J. The Superlawyers. 1972 (11)

Groden,R. Livingstone,H. High Treason. 1990 (293, 317-8)

Hitchens,C. The Trial of Henry Kissinger. 2001 (112)

Hutchison,R. Vesco. 1976 (275)

Kruger,H. The Great Heroin Coup. 1980 (17)

Lasky,V. It Didn't Start With Watergate. 1978 (349)

Marrs,J. Crossfire. 1990 (268)

McCord,J. A Piece of Tape. 1974 (130)

Messick,H. Lansky. 1973 (187-8)

Moldea,D. The Hoffa Wars. 1978 (103-5, 260-1, 319, 321)

Myerson,M. Watergate: Crime in the Suites. 1973 (114-5)

NACLA. Guatemala. 1974 (84)

Rampton,S. Stauber,J. Banana Republicans. 2004 (145)

Rolling Stone 1976-05-20 (42-3)

Sale,K. Power Shift. 1976 (67, 119, 202, 219, 222-3, 239)

Scheim,D. Contract on America. 1988 (296, 299-300, 303)

Summers,A. The Arrogance of Power. 2000 (xi, 42-3, 50-7, 83-4, 123, 149, 229, 277, 398-9, 467)

Tackwood,L. The Glass House Tapes. 1973 (174)

Weissman,S. Big Brother and the Holding Company. 1974 (165, 283-4)

Wise,D. The American Police State. 1978 (331)

Wise,D. The Politics of Lying. 1973 (428-9)

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Murray Chotiner was also associated with Mickey Cohen, one of the leaders of the mob in Los Angeles. Chotiner persuaded Cohen to supply funds for Nixon's election campaigns in 1946 and 1950. This story was published by Drew Pearson in 1956 and 1959. Nixon did not sue Pearson but the story was not confirmed until Cohen signed confession in October, 1962. At the time he was in Alcatraz prison. Cohen claims he raised $75,000 for Nixon in 1950 in return for political favours. This deal was arranged via Chotiner. In his autobiography, Cohen claims that the orders to help Nixon came from Meyer Lansky. This is interesting as there is evidence that Bebe Rebozo, Nixon and Lansky were involved in business deals in pre-Castro Cuba.

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Murray Chotiner was also associated with Mickey Cohen, one of the leaders of the mob in Los Angeles. Chotiner persuaded Cohen to supply funds for Nixon's election campaigns in 1946 and 1950. This story was published by Drew Pearson in 1956 and 1959. Nixon did not sue Pearson but the story was not confirmed until Cohen signed confession in October, 1962. At the time he was in Alcatraz prison.  Cohen claims he raised $75,000 for Nixon in 1950 in return for political favours. This deal was arranged via Chotiner. In his autobiography, Cohen claims that the orders to help Nixon came from Meyer Lansky. This is interesting as there is evidence that Bebe Rebozo, Nixon and Lansky were involved in business deals in pre-Castro Cuba.

Good stuff, John.

There is another name that deserves a mention who moved in the circle of players you have cited. That is Harold Meltzer. Meltzer was Cohen's man and even though I have no proof, I believe Chotiner was also associated with Meltzer.

Meltzer becomes really interesting as I believe he was the first man approached by Charles Siragusa after Siragusa was allegedly approached himself by Agency man Vincent Thill (could that have been David Morales?) to recruit Mafia thugs for assassination duties.

Meltzer probably deserves his own thread. This is him below.

FWIW.

James

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There is another name that deserves a mention who moved in the circle of players you have cited. That is Harold Meltzer. Meltzer was Cohen's man and even though I have no proof, I believe Chotiner was also associated with Meltzer.

Anthony Summers (Arrogance of Power) has carried out a detailed study of Nixon's links to organized crime. However, he does not mention Meltzer.

Here is a picture of Mickey Cohen for your collection.

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